Martial 5.34

Has she arrived yet? Her legs are so little. Or are the departed

         faster than light and thus there in the blink of an eye?

Late on a summer’s day in Paradise I imagine

         both of you by the garage waiting for her when she comes,

witness Cerberus’ nosy inspection in triplicate of her

         up at the top of the drive, then how she shakes herself off,

makes the little nhh! sound she makes when relieved and comes bounding

         down to you, tail held high, hoping to get a reward.

Granny, Grampy, look after Sadie, our Scottish Terrier,

         ours, alas, not quite six years out of her not quite thirteen.

She is a very good girl: obedient by terrier standards,

         meaning she’ll give your requests serious thought, at least;

loving—if not in the seemingly indiscriminate manner

         some breeds famously are (Goldens leap to mind);

gentle—the timidest children among the dead will adore her

         seeing how careful she is taking a treat at their hands.

Tell her we love her; look how, when she hears our names mentioned, she glances

         out at the kitchen door, wondering where we can be.

Pat her chest then, reassure her we won’t keep her waiting forever.

         Cover her lightly, earth, seeing she trod lightly on you.


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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 33 Number 10, on page 28
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